Most people marry for love and most of them, even Hollywood celebrities, want their marriages to last, possibly for the rest of their lives. But when money is involved, couples often also have a pre-nup, just in case things go south and a divorce occurs. It’s the only way everyone can protect their assets. But there’s not much love involved when signing a prenup.
Let’s have a look at some the most expensive divorce we unearthed.
Let’s start from the bottom and work our way up the list. That’s much more interesting. Back in 1995, Michael Douglas divorced his first wife Diandra after 18 years of marriage. She walked away with $45 Million, one of the most expensive divorces at the time. Apparently, Diandra was fed up with his drinking and partying and Michael later said his only regret was that his first marriage didn’t end sooner. Yikes!
The break-up and divorce of Paul McCartney and Heather Mills was much talked about. It was pretty nasty and acrimonious. Curiously they didn’t have a prenup, which is unexpected when someone with such a high profile as Paul McCartney gets married. Perhaps he believed she was the one (though everyone knows Linda was his ‘one’). When the divorce was finalized in 2008, Heather walked away with $48.6 Million, which was a lot, but far less than she had asked for initially.
#12 Linda Hamilton and James Cameron
Now, this is an interesting one. Linda Hamilton was wife number four for James Cameron. They had been dating since 1991, had one daughter, married in 1997 and got their divorce in 1999, though truly they split 8 months into their marriage. This marriage and divorce is interesting, because James and Linda were a couple during his filming of Titantic. He met wife number 5, Suzy Amis, on set and fell for her, but decided to leave her and married Linda instead. We know how that ended. Linda received $25 Million for every year they were married, so $50 in total. James went back to Suzy, married her and is still going strong with her.
#11 Madonna and Guy Ritchie
Madonna’s marriage to Guy Ritchie was arguably her longest and most stable relationship, perhaps even the most ordinary, especially considering her penchant for ‘boy toys’ ever since. They had two children together and once the spark was gone, they divorced. This is the only instance in this list, where the ex-wife is paying the settlement to her ex-husband. It’s estimated to be between $76 and $92 Million.
Kevin Costner married his college sweetheart Cindy Silva in 1978 when his career was at its very beginning.They went on to have 3 children together, but after numerous infidelities on Costner’s part, Cindy called it quits in 1994.
Without a prenup, Costner was ordered to pay $80 Million to her. He went on to have four more children, three of them with current wife Christine Baumgartner, to whom he has been married 11 years now.
He will forever be Hans Solo and Indiana Jones and thus the crush of millions of women, envied by millions of men. But his second divorce from second wife Melissa Mathison cost him dearly. After 21 years Melissa was apparently unable to cope with his mid-life crisis, which resulted in numerous affairs and his bachelor-like behavior, and she called an end to their marriage in 2004. Without a prenup, Melissa was awarded $90 Million. And we’re only in place number 9!
#08 Steven Spielberg and Amy Irving
Steven Spielberg first began dating first wife Amy Irving in 1976, but they broke it off in 1979, remaining close friends.
After reconciling in 1984, they married in 1985, but the marriage only lasted about 3.5 years.
The divorce cost Spielberg $100 Million in 1989, which was massive and if you add inflation to it, would be ever more money today. Since 1991 he has been going strong with Kate Capshaw however, and the two have seven children together, three biological, two adopted and one child each from previous relationships.
Everyone knows what ended Tiger Woods marriage to Elin Nordegren: his repeated infidelity. Whilst Elin wanted to work on their marriage initially, the damage was done and turned out to be irreparable. So she received a settlement of $110 Million in 2009 and never really looked back. Tiger’s type, however, has not changed. To his credit, it must be said that he went into rehab for his sex addiction.
Neil Diamond, the only other male musician in the list, married his second wife Marcia Murphy in the early 70s and divorced her in the mid-90s. They had two sons during their marriage.
A reason for the split is not known. It would appear musicians are a little more discreet, at least the ones featuring in this list. Marcia received $150 Million in their divorce.
The most expensive divorce of an athlete can be claimed by Michael Jordan when he ended his marriage to Juanita Jordan. They were married in 1989 and had two sons and a daughter. Splitting briefly in 2002, they reconciled, but in 2006 called it quits for good. Apparently, their divorce was mutual and amicable, which is as good as it gets under the circumstances. Juanita received a reported $168 Million, which made it the most expensive celebrity divorce at the time.
Arnold Schwarzenegger and ex-wife Maria Shriver were married for 25 years and have four children together. When it emerged that he had fathered a son with their housekeeper back in 1997, which he had kept secret for years (only figuring it out himself after 7 or 8 years), Maria Shriver split from him. Admittedly the couple is not yet divorced, but Maria stands to walk away with at least $200 Million, which is half of Arnold’s estimated $400 Million net worth.
Mel Gibson used to be one of the leading men many ladies swooned over: charming, a little cheeky and attractive. But he was always off the table, being a devout catholic and having been married to wife Robyn Moore for 26 years, sharing 7 children with her. Then he cheated on her, perhaps not for the first time.
Additionally, his alcohol problems had been persistent and Robyn would no longer bear it.
The divorce cost Mel half his fortune, which meant Robyn received $425 Million. She will also receive half of any of his film residuals for the rest of his life. Alas, things have taken a turn for the worse for Mel since then and he’s only just recovering now.
Leaving Hollywood behind we enter a new realm: that of the world’s billionaires. Rupert Murdoch’s divorce from his wife of 32 years, Anna Torv, cost him $1.2 Billion. The couple had four children and their marriage ended in 1999 because Murdoch was ready to wed Wendi Deng. He did marry her, but they divorced in 2013 as well.
#01 Bernie and Slavica Ecclestone
And for the number one spot we turn to Bernie and Slavica Ecclestone, an unlikely couple with a 28-year age gap and her being nearly a foot taller than him, they still managed to stay together for 23 years. The Formula One mogul and the ex-model have two daughters together and divorced in 2009 for undisclosed reasons. Bernie was ordered to pay Slavica a staggering $1.3 Billion.